Fwd: UK Labour MP on globalization

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at SPAMhotmail.com
Fri Oct 29 01:17:15 MDT 1999



I forward this, complete with my comrades intro.

Macdonald

>Something to brighten your day and bring a smile to your lips!
>
>
>
>
>
>The Threat to Globalization
> > <<...>>
> >It doesn't come from those who will gather in Seattle, but from darker
> >political forces
> > <<...>>
> >By Denis MacShane
> >Newsweek International, November 1, 1999
> >There is a new political specter haunting the world. The politics of
> >antiglobalization are growing into a powerful force aimed at liberal
> >democracy and market economies in a way not seen since communism's heyday
> >earlier this century. Like all major new ideologies, antiglobalization
> >conveys a surface message of a better, purer, more honest life. Yet it
>also
> >masks darker and more dangerous forces.
> >Supporters of democratic, open economies should not worry too much about
>the
> >green eco-warriors who plan to turn the World Trade Organization's
> >conference in Seattle into the biggest political demonstrations seen
>since
> >1968. Rather, they should be concerned about the backlash against
> >globalization that is being integrated into national politics and taking
>new
> >and dangerous forms. The most obvious expression of this phenomenon is
>the
> >rise of the nation, of religion and of ethnicity as causes that have to
>be
> >protected against outside influence.
> >The world is seeing a rash of nation-first-or region-first- politics. It
>can
> >be seen in the success of politicians like Jorg Haider in Austria, in the
> >Northern League of Italy, the neo-communist PDS party in eastern Germany,
> >and in the turn to isolationist anti-European politics by Britain's
> >Conservative Party. All of these are expressions of the fear of the
>other,
> >the outsider and the foreign which lies at the heart of
>antiglobalization.
> >The BJP rides the same tiger in India; so do fundamentalists who adopt a
> >politics that elevates religion over all. The same fear of the unknown is
>at
> >work among those who dislike new sciences like biogenetics, as it is in
>the
> >U.S. Senate's refusal to ratify a global nuclear test ban. It can even be
> >seen in those-like the mayor of New York-who treat foreign art with
> >contempt, or among those French politicians determined to block the free
> >flow of mass entertainment originating outside France's borders.
> >Historically, the antiglobalization backlash represents the revenge of
>the
> >19th century-nationalist, protectionist, racist, credulous and
>gothic-over
> >the values of the 18th century-rational, universalist, modernizing,
>humanist
> >and classical. We are witnessing, if you like, a fight between Voltaire
>and
> >Nietzche; between Adam Smith's commitment to free trade and Otto von
> >Bismarck's preference for tariff barriers. There is a political contest
>too.
> >On the one hand are those who welcome the international economy and
> >understand the need for postnational rules set by imperfect but necessary
> >international bodies. On the other hand are those, of left and right, who
> >want national or ethnic vetoes on any interference from outside.
> >Those who stand for open economies and liberal democracies need to face
>the
> >new threat. After a decade of denying the linkage, there is now belated
> >acknowledgment that global trade does need to take into consideration
> >environmental and social issues. Bill Clinton stressed the connection
>when
> >he became the first American president ever to address the annual
>conference
> >of the International Labor Organization earlier this year. World trade
> >bureaucrats have finally begun to understand the real political threat
>posed
> >by their arrogant dismissals of the claim that nature nor human beings
> >should not be penalized by global trade.
> >In truth, the removal of barriers to trade has not caused world poverty,
>but
> >revealed it. Compared to the 1960s there are hundreds of millions of
>people
> >who have a better life because of world trade. In 1960, South Korea had a
> >per-capita annual income of $250. Now the country exports whole auto
>plants
> >to provide new jobs and an entry into the world market for workers in
>East
> >Europe and Latin America. Life expectancy has shot up everywhere; decent
> >health care is no longer the preserve of the rich north. A liberalized
>world
> >economy has allowed millions more people to reach adulthood and have
> >children.
> >Unfortunately, those who have a stake in world trade have been its worst
> >advocates. Too many banks and multinational businesses still refuse to
>heed
> >calls for ethical trading and social responsibility. Too often,
> >organizations like Transparency International and the International Labor
> >Organization are ignored. Governments from poorer countries in Asia and
> >Latin America-often ones that waste money on weapons, security police and
> >the trappings of power-have demanded protection from global rules which
> >would permit their civil society, consumer, labor and environmental
>groups
> >to organize freely. Fundamentalist free traders reinforce
>antiglobalization
> >by arrogantly asserting that society and the environment can look after
> >themselves provided the bottom line is secured-this does nothing but fuel
> >the backlash against globalization. The WTO has wasted the 10 years since
> >the end of communism refusing to discuss the links between trade and
> >democracy.
> >It is not too late to win the fight for open markets. But sup- porters of
> >free trade must widen their base of support beyond the multinational
> >business community. The forces of antiglobalization and the new
> >protectionists can and must be pushed back into their box. But to achieve
> >that necessary victory will require new language and new leadership.
>Seattle
> >would be a good place to start.
> >MacShane is a Labour Party member of the British Parliament.
> >
>
>

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